Thursday, February 15, 2007

Penang, Malaysia

Well.. here I am in Malaysia, on the island of Penang. It took a long time to decide where to do my visa run but I finally conluded that it was better to come here to do to the Thai Embassy to get a 60 day visa, rather than just hop the border and get only 30 days. Now I don't have to worry about leaving the country until it's time to go home. Its pouring rain outside, which is an absolute relief considering how hot it is here. It doesn't seem to dip below 30 degrees, even at night. It's honestly killing me. Malaysia itself is not really a suprise. It definately has a "blending" of cultures here... Chinese, Indian and Malay.. not unlike Vancouver, ha ha. It reminds me of Cambodia in that all the buildings here in Georgetown have seen better days. They are colonial style but haven't seen renovations since. The shops dont have doors.. or air con.. or much of anything in them for that matter. It smells like Hong Kong.. sewer and smog. My busride from Koh Samui yesterday was hell... not coz the bus was bad but because it took 15 hours to get here, much of which was wasted sitting around in stupid restaurants in the middle of nowhere or shitty little travel agent's offices, waiting for the connecting bus to come get you. I left at 6:45am and got here after 10pm. I was so tired, all I wanted was a bed so I took pretty much the first one I could find. Big mistake. I spent extra money for an aircon room because it was soooo humid, but the stupid thing was broken so that was a total waste. I spent the night soaked in sweat, plastered to a nasty stained matress, listening to the worst bar band in the world and the rats scurrying around in my bathroom. Yuck. So first thing after I hit the visa office this morning, I found a new room without rats and air con that works ( and an incredibly cute front desk guy, heh heh). And it costs less than the room last night, go figure. So after wandering around for a few hours (couldn't check in until noon) I decided that there really wasn't anything to see or to do. Nothing. It was too hot to be outside and I didn't want to pay money to go on a tour. I decided where I would be having dinner tonight, checked into my new hotel and slept for the rest of the afternoon in my blissfully cold room. I'm really excited to go to sleep tonight.. how lame is that? Malaysia is very Muslim so I feel kinda weird walking around in shorts and a tank top. The mosques broadcast their prayers at sunset... it's actually quite cool to listen to. Foodwise, things are good. I've been enjoying the Malaysian version of fried noodles.. skinny little ones that are quite dry by comparison to phad thai. Good all the same though. Tonight I headed to this open air food forum that had everything you can imagine.. Chinese, Indian, Malay, Philipino, Thai, Japanese... I decided to try the classic Malay dish Laksa. Its a sour soup made with tamarind, deep fried fish, shallots, pineapple, onion, shredded lettuce and fat white udon-like noodles. It's quite strong but really tasty.. especially when accompanied by Tiger Beer. So my visa will be ready tomorrow... then I catch the 3:00 bus to Hat Yai. Hat Yai is a Thai town 50km from the Malaysia border that is famous for duty free shopping and prostitution. Yay.. my favourite. You can pick your woman from a group of about a hundred who are seated behind a glass window. Why am I going there? To start the wretched journey home. I can shave off four hours of my trip to Samui on Saturday if I can get to Hat Yai by tomorrow night. 7 hours by bus is way better than 15. So that is my plan.. can you tell that Im bored. I think I will go drink more beer.. then go to bed. Peace out.

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